Thursday, October 11, 2007

Daf Yomi Ketubot 57b - Levi or Livai?

On Ketubot 57b, in the Rif:
אמר רבא בר ליואי אין פוסקין על הקטנה להשיאה כשהיא קטנה אבל פוסקין על הקטנה להשיאה כשהיא גדולה ולא חיישינן דילמא עייל בה פחדא מהשתא וחלשה
Rava var Livai {our gemara: Rabbi Abba bar Levi} said: We do not arrange {/without betrothal} for marrying a female minor, but we do arrange for marrying off of female minor when she is an adult, and we are not concern that perhaps fear will enter her from now and she will become ill.
As noted, while Rif has רבא בר ליואי, our gemara has instead רבי אבא בר לוי. Which is original? I would end up leaning towards the girsa of the Rif. But let us examine how one can turn into the other. Rava and Rabba are contractions of Rabbi Abba, and so can switch. How about the ליואי vs. לוי? Note that the next word is אין. Particularly at the end of a line, if a scribe ran out of space, he might write the אין as just אי, realize he ran out of space, and put dots over the letters, duplicating the אי in אין at the start of the next line. Thus לוי could easily become לויאי. The scribe, or rather the next one, might assume metathesis -- two letters switching positions -- is in play, and reverse the yud and vav "back" to produce ליואי. In the other direction, if ליואי were the last word on a line, a scribe might misinterpret the last two letters as duplication of the beginning of אין on the next line, due to lack of space, and therefore not copy it, yielding לוי.

A search through Bavli yields a few Bar Livais (without any first name), a few Rabbi Yehuda bar Livais, and a few Rabba (spelled with a final heh rather than aleph) bar Livais. Which is why I would assume that Rif's girsa is accurate here.


Josh M. said...

On a not-so-related note, do you have any theory how the variant girsa between Nechemia haAmsuni and Shimon haAmsuni came about? See BK 40b or so, among other places.

joshwaxman said...

I've never thought about this one before, and would really have to do more extensive research on it. That is, see every gemara in which this occurs and scour context for something that looks like Nechemiah or Shimon that would be duplicated.

However, I would offer two possibilities. In both cases I would say it is a variant manuscript issue, as usual:

#1, which I don't (at the moment) think is likely, is that there were two such characters, perhaps brothers, and due to a smudged manuscript, different figures were put in by copyists.

#2, Nechemiah HaAmsuni is most certainly the original. The letters ע, מ, נ, and ו are shared by Shimon and Amsuni, and perhaps we can see a samech and shin switch-off. Nechemia has less letters in common. As such, I would favor Nechemiah as the original and Shimon as accidental duplication from haAmsuni.

Indeed, the gemara with this variation between the two figures is about darshening the אתs in the Torah, with the problem of Es Hashem Elokecha Tira.

And we can simply look at Yerushalmi, which does NOT have a girsa variant. And this Yerushalmi fingers Nechemia as the person. See Yerushalmi Sota 25b:

נחמיה עמסוני ששימש את רבי עקיבה עשרים ושתים שנה הוא היה אומר אתים גמין ריבויין. אכין ורכין מיעוטין. אמר ליה מהו דין דכתיב (דברים ו) את יי אלהיך תירא וגו'. אמר ליה אותו ואת תורתו:

which also does not have the charming aspect of getting reward on the Prisha just as on the drisha.

joshwaxman said...

compare the Yerushalmi with the Bavli:

כדתניא שמעון העמסוני ואמרי לה נחמיה העמסוני היה דורש כל אתין שבתורה כיון שהגיע (דברים ו) לאת ה' אלהיך תירא פירש אמרו לו תלמידיו רבי כל אתין שדרשת מה תהא עליהם אמר להם כשם שקבלתי שכר על הדרישה כך קבלתי על הפרישה עד שבא רבי עקיבא ולימד את ה' אלהיך תירא לרבות תלמידי חכמים:

Josh M. said...

Good points. Encyclopedia l'Chachmei HaTalmud v-ha-Geonim identifies Nechemiah ha-Amsuni with Nachum Ish Gamzu (while having no entry for Shimon). This is probably because they have basically the same name, are both well-known for darshening all the et-in in the Torah, and that NIG is known to be a rebbe of R' Akiva, who also plays a role in in the NhA story. This latter being the case, the version in the Y_mi which calls NhA a talmid of R' Akiva is curious. (Sort of like RSBY and R' Pinchas ben Yair, where IIRC the latter is called both his father-in-law and son-in-law)

FWIW, RCh"V passes down a mesorah from the Arizal regarding where NIG and NhA are buried - the former is in Tzfas while the latter is in another Galilean town whose name escapes me for the moment. Although this goes against the evidence that the two are identical, it also supports your identification as Nechemiah as being the correct version.

Thanks for the input.

joshwaxman said...

thanks. i would agree with your analysis of the conflation of Nachum with Nechemia.

In terms of my own leaning towards Nechemiah, as I ruminate upon it, I see that my favoring of Nechemiah as closer to haAmsuni is not so strong. The irregular Ayin matching is one thing. But, if we just compare letters between words, Nechemiah and haAmsuni share a heh, a mem, a nun, and a yud.

The text of the Yerushalmi, which did not have chance to get this textual shibush is a much stronger proof. And there is a Rabbi Shimon in the general area of one of these Rabbi Shimon haAmsuni, which might spark it.

Kol Tuv,
Josh W.


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